Panel Discussion - Children in the Crossfire: Stopping Attacks on Schools and Hospitals

Event Date: 
Tuesday, December 13, 2016
Event Time: 
4:30 p.m.
Location: 
016 Robertson Hall

The Liechtenstein Institute on Self-Determination will sponsor a panel discussion, "Children in the Crossfire: Stopping Attacks on Schools and Hospitals," on Tuesday, December 13, 2016, at 4:30 p.m. in 016 Robertson Hall. Panel participants will include Amy Kapit, Executive Director, Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack; Susannah Sirkin, Director of International Policy and Partnerships, Physicians for Human Rights; and Susanne Fries-Gaier, Deputy Head of Division, German Federal Office for Foreign Affairs. Eva Smets, Executive Director of Watchlist on Children and Armed Conflict will moderate the discussion. The event is free and open to the public.

The public panel is the closing session of a private workshop on children and armed conflict, "Priorities for the UN's Children and Armed Conflict Agenda." The workshop is co-sponsored with Watchlist on Children and Armed Conflict and will bring together international policy-makers and key UN and NGO actors to discuss specific, concrete, and targeted actions that can be taken within the framework of the UN’s Children and Armed Conflict (CAC) agenda to improve and strengthen the CAC agenda, and UN responses to grave violations against children such as attacks on schools and hospitals. The workshop will consist of three working sessions focusing on: (1) a review of the Children and Armed Conflict agenda, (2) the Security Council Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict and identification of working group priorities, and (3) a thematic discussion on addressing attacks on education and health care in armed conflict. A wrap-up session will summarize the findings and recommendations of the workshop and will consider how these recommendations could be taken forward in 2017-2018, particularly in the context of the Security Council’s thematic debates on Children and Armed Conflict, in the Working Group’s consideration of country-specific situations, and throughout its other activities. Participants and panelists will include representatives of UN Security Council Missions, other UN Member States, relevant UN departments and offices such as DPKO, UNICEF and the Department of Political Affairs, and civil society.

About the Panelists:

Amy Kapit is the acting Executive Director of the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack. Prior to this she was the GCPEA Education Under Attack Program Officer, and is lead researcher and writer for Education Under Attack 2018, a global report that will track violent attacks on education in countries impacted by armed conflict and insecurity from 2013-2017. She has spent close to a decade working on issues related to education and child protection in areas of armed conflict. Most recently, she worked as the Research Director of a New York University project studying the impact of a community-based education program being implemented by two NGOs in more than 200 villages in six provinces of Afghanistan. She received a PhD in International Education from New York University’s Steinhardt School in 2016. Her doctoral research examined linkages between global advocacy on the protection of education and the humanitarian community’s efforts to address violence, harassment, and threats against Palestinian students, teachers, and schools. Previously, she has also consulted on education in emergencies projects including for the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack, the Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies, USAID, NORAD, Education Above All, and the Scholars at Risk Network.

Susannah Sirkin is Director of International Policy and Partnerships at Physicians for Human Rights (PHR). In this capacity she oversees international policy engagement including PHR's work with the United Nations, domestic and international justice systems, and human rights coalitions. Sirkin is also responsible for managing and multiplying PHR’s strategic partnerships globally, expanding our volunteers from the medical and scientific community, and increasing our partnerships with NGOs, medical institutions, and other relationships that can enhance PHR’s effectiveness and grow the field of human rights activists. Sirkin joined PHR’s staff in 1987 shortly after its founding. She serves as a senior advisor across all areas, particularly PHR’s work to stop sexual violence in conflict zones – an initiative she created in 2011. Sirkin has organized health and human rights investigations for PHR in dozens of countries, including documentation of genocide and systematic rape in Darfur, Sudan; exhumations of mass graves in the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda for the International Criminal Tribunals; investigations into consequences of human rights abuses and violations of international humanitarian law in Afghanistan, El Salvador, Haiti, India, Iraq, Israel/Palestine, Kosovo, Kuwait, Somalia, Turkey, and the United States, among others. She has worked on studies of sexual violence in Bosnia, Chad, Sierra Leone, and Thailand. She has authored and edited numerous reports and articles on the medical consequences of human rights violations, physical evidence of human rights abuses, and physician complicity in violations. Sirkin served as PHR's representative on the Steering Committee of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines from 1992-1997, a campaign for which PHR shared in the 1997 Nobel Prize for Peace. Sirkin has a BA in European studies from Mount Holyoke College and an MEd from Boston University.

Susanne Fries-Gaier is currently the Deputy Head of Division responsible for Security Council Policies, General Assembly matters, and sanctions in the Department for International Order of the German Foreign Office. Prior to this post she held positions in the press division, in the juridical department, the UN department and the department of human resources of the Foreign Office. She was inter alia appointed to the German Embassy in Beijing/China where she held the position of a senior desk officer for Chinese political affairs. From 2011 to 2013 she worked as a Counsellor in the political department of the Permanent Mission of Germany to the United Nations in New York. During Germany’s time as a non-permanent member of the Security Council in 2011-12 she was inter alia responsible for the Security Council Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict.

Eva Smets is Director of WatchList on Children and Armed Conflict, a network of international NGOs, which collects and disseminates information on violations against children throughout the world and uses this information to advocate for change. Prior to coming to WatchList, Smets spent six years with several NGOs in conflict settings in Central and East Africa, where she focused on humanitarian advocacy. She also has extensive lobbying experience, including in New York, Brussels, and Geneva. Eva holds a master’s degree in human rights and democratization from the University of Padova, Italy, and a degree in history from the University of Brussels, Belgium.